My husband and I braved the arctic May weather of darkest Minnesota, got up on the porch of my sister's Bed & Breakfast, exhanged vows and rings and plunged into the rest of our lives. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. No idea that five months later - to the day - our son, who had been on that porch with us, would die a week before he was due, the cord wrapped three times around his neck. No idea that our next son would be as beautiful, brilliant and full of life as he is, or that he would sound so much like an adult when he speaks that I would have to remind myself not to treat him like one. No idea that his sister would be born with a chromosomal abnormality that has given her seizures and made the most basic communication a tremendous challenge. No idea of the sweetness that would emanate from her with no need for words.
I don't feel a lot of gratitude lately. I feel stress, anxiety about the future, and sometimes a blind rage about the direction the world seems to be taking. But when I look at the pictures from our wedding, eight years ago today, I am overwhelmed with gratitude for all of the people who were there to launch us on this journey. Our spectacular friends who flew in from all over the world to be there for us, and even my crazy family - each member of which knows he or she doesn't really belong there with the others. And I am grateful for my wonderful husband, for being my wonderful husband. And for our two magical children. I think if anyone had told me on my wedding day what my life would be like eight years later, I might have run screaming. From the outside it looks very different from how it really is. There is one significant thing I would change if I could, a few details I'd like to tweak, but other than that there is no place I'd rather be.
I'll be updating my wedding album in the next few days and linking to it here so everyone can see what it was like to walk barefoot on the frozen tundra that is springtime in Excelsior, Minnesota.
UPDATE: The wedding album is here and I'll be adding even more pictures later.